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New 3D imaging technique allows changes in cells involved in diabetes to be closely studied

15 February 2021

Seeing Progress

Seeing clear results from any project is the best motivation to keep up the work. That’s not always possible for scientists working on microscopic molecular mechanisms behind human diseases, but a new technique has given diabetes researchers a glimpse of the effect their attempts might be having. Diabetes is known for rising blood sugar levels and the loss of pancreatic beta cells, which produce insulin to help break sugars down. Recent experiments have shown it's possible to regenerate these beta cells, which could be an effective treatment, but measuring this process of restoration is key to perfecting potential approaches. This new technique provides a 3D visualisation of changes occurring in the pancreas (shown, insulin highlighted blue) and allowed researchers to watch as beta cell volume increased in diabetic mice following treatment. Seeing impacts in action will help in the development of new treatments for diabetes.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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